In recent blogs I shared two of a four-part series of things pastors should do to lead well in the area of finance. Those four were:

Pastors need to give
Pastors need to be aware of the financial situation
Pastors need to share good stewardship theology
Pastors need to develop relationships with givers

Today let’s say a word about preaching, teaching, and explaining the Christian understanding of stewardship, as well as the part of it that involves giving and generosity. That is a pastor’s responsibility. Stewardship, which is the managing of one’s life, relationships, and belongings on loan from above, is a top subject matter in our quest for discipleship. It is the orientation of our souls in this life because of our apprehension of the eternal life.

When we make stewardship, particularly money, something we hide away until we must talk about it—we fall prey to a secular worldview. Money, as a necessary evil, plays right into the devil’s hands, for then then it becomes a commodity not connected to our spirituality. How about we don’t do that!

Certainly, the Bible does not teach thus, and certainly the Bible gives us so many examples of stewardship that we couldn’t preach them all in a year. Pastors must keep lifting-up the Christian vision of life:

— There is enough, especially if we share. Because there can be enough, others are not competitors, but neighbors
— We can find contentment with much or little, but sometimes too little or too much makes it harder. That is why we pray for daily bread.
— Basically, all God does is give all the time. Do we want to be like God? Just sayin’.
— Because we are narrow-minded and sinful, we think we are the reason for our success, and are not grateful people; worse yet, we feel justified in not helping those who aren’t as successful as we are.
— “It is well to remember that the entire universe, with one trifling exception, is composed of others.” (John Holmes)
— Law is important. Grace is more important than law.
— No matter how much you have, if you are counting on how much you have, you will never be able to relax.
— Generosity isn’t based on leftovers, but on a sense of present and future abundance. If you don’t sense that, you shouldn’t cut back on your generosity, but increase your devotion and awareness.
— Where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. (Matthew 6: 21) The way you treat your treasure shapes the shape of your heart.
— There is great joy in letting God (and God’s blessings) flow through you.
— Jesus gave everything he had, even his life. Resurrection came next. Go ahead. Take your time and think about that.
— We can plan for tomorrow, but we can’t live in it, nor should we be anxious over it
— “For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. In their eagerness to be rich many have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pains.” (1 Timothy 6: 10)

The list above can be multiplied many times over. It is all in the book, pastors, it is all in the book. Take time, regularly, to remind your congregation what the book says. We may not like it, but that just means we have a lot of growing to do.

Glenn HowellIf you want more ideas for stewardship and giving, whether pastor or lay person, contact us at your United Methodist Foundation here or by calling us toll free at 877-391-8811.

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Glenn Howell
Director of Development
United Methodist Foundation of Indiana